It’s rare that I meet someone and meditation not be brought up in conversation. It has become an integral part of my life. I feel so passionately that if we all would dedicate time to meditation everyday, we would continue to see a major uprise in compassion, kindness, connectedness, honesty, forgiveness and understanding. So whenever someone tells me about a drama or challenging situation they are experiencing, my first question is usually, “Do you meditate?”
Some say “Yes!” and a lot of people say something along the lines of, “I would meditate, but I tried once and my brain and thoughts are just all over the place. I don’t think I can really meditate.”
My response usually goes like this, “That’s why we meditate.”
And then they usually say, “No, like, my thoughts are insane. Like, crazy. I can’t sit for that long.”
“MINE TOO!” :)
We have an average of 48.6 thoughts per minute (according to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern CA). I think I have more than that, but if I tried counting, would that add more thoughts for me to count? Haha!
Yes, the goal of meditation is to quiet the mind, but if we get caught up in the idea that “if we are meditating, then we should not have thoughts,” we might want to give up because we will feel defeated every time we have thoughts. The thoughts are going to happen!
I have learned (and practiced) so many different types of meditation over the past 7 years, so I am not going to share them all now.. But I do want to share a simple way to begin if you are feeling inclined to meditate!
If you are a beginner to meditation or have tried to meditate and given up, here's a simple way to start so that you won't feel intimidated or overwhelmed...
Drink some water (warm water if possible for the digestive system).
Brush your teeth.
Find a quiet & comfortable place to sit.
Sit with your spine straight, legs crossed (feet flat on the floor if you’re in a chair).
Set timer on your phone for 5 minutes.
Place your hands facing up or down on your thighs.
Close your eyes.
Breathe into your belly.
Focus your gaze toward your third eye or ajna chakra (between eyebrows).
Keep breathing until the timer goes off (and then keep breathing after that, hehe).
If thoughts come up, notice them. Refrain from judging them. It’s most likely that in the beginning, you will notice some crazy, and sometimes scary thoughts. This is because you may have not yet allowed yourself to sit for long enough to notice all of the thoughts happening. It’s okay. You are not a bad person for these thoughts. In fact, you’ll begin to learn that these thoughts aren’t even your own.
I want to invite you to do this every morning for 11 days. If you feel you can do more than 5 minutes, then go to 7 or 10 or 15… Follow your intuition with it. This practice can be very simple and it will transform your life.
You will start to notice that you are less reactive and more responsive.
You will start to see yourself judging less and cultivating more compassion.
You will see your anxiety lower and your joy heighten.
You will notice more love for yourself and all that surrounds you.
If you would like more guidance on your meditation journey, I offer a complimentary 30 minute video chat. We will talk about your journey with meditation and see if I can continue to help you further along on your path to self love.
Email email@example.com or message me through this page to set up a time. :)
As always, I love hearing back from you! Let me know if you try the 11 days and/or if you have any more questions about it.
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
We have no idea what is going to happen, and the good news is that all we have is this moment and in this moment lies eternity. Liberating and terrifying all at once, yeah?
How many times have I made plans and had them completely rearranged by a series of events that may have seemed unfortunate or disappointing, only to find that what actually transpired was greater than I could have ever imagined?
Trusting. Letting go.
Sometimes it is best to take action and sometimes it necessary to sit silent.
Letting go so that we can make room for what will come. At first this sounds so counter-intuitive. Naturally, we want to control what happens. We are inclined to plan and arrange our lives the best we see fit so that we will attain happiness.
We think we know what will bring us joy, but if we are in a mindset of thinking about what will bring us joy… Will we ever truly experience the joy?
I’ve done a lot of seeking through spiritual practices, yoga, multiple paths of meditation, all types of therapy, books, movies, gurus, mentors… This is all beautiful, but the most profound thing that I’ve learned about seeking is that it’s just slowly leading me back to me. Back to home.
I thought it was out there, but I’m learning it’s in here.
Each time I’ve let myself get attached to a spiritual path, a situation happens that brings me back to me and it’s usually a highly uncomfortable lesson.
Divinity lies within.
Within our friends, family and so called enemies.
Within all of creation.
I will likely spend my whole life being given opportunities to learn this because I believe it is what the human experience is for.. To come closer and closer to honoring the holiness in ourselves and each other.
Most of us live in an illusion of separation that causes much more pain than necessary. Yet, this pain is our teacher, guiding us back to ourselves, again and again and again… If we choose for it to.
When we are here and now with ourselves, the love we have to give is infinite. We merge with the Christ Consciousness and fall into acceptance of what is. Acceptance becomes a catalyst for transformation within and around. This is not a passive love, it’s a well of love that overflows with great passion, dissolving any fear that may be present. We connect with each other on a deeply powerful level, recognizing ourselves in one another.
To truly see another’s soul, is to see our own.
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
"Self love is the source of all our other loves."
- Pierre Corneille
I think most of us spent the beginning of our lives learning that love comes from other people. From when we’re babies and being cared for by our parents or care takers, certain needs were met, or not.. And from that, we created a system to evaluate the amount of love we deserved or didn’t deserve.
Growing up, we applied that system to our lives.
So we kept believing that we need our needs met by others as proof that we are loved.
Then, maybe we start to get an inkling that there’s something that feels off about this. “Why do I need this person or that person to do these certain things so that I can feel good/loved?” We come to realize that we have no control over other’s actions. And, boy, can that be a painful stream of lessons (that we'll always be learning).
Then we start to get curious about the concept of self love. A journey that can be incredibly difficult to face.
It’s not a shallow affirmation of “I love myself.” It’s a deep exploration of getting to know the darkest parts of our self, the most appalling and ugly parts of our self. It’s not a pretty, dainty process. It often comes with a good dose of tears. It’s terrifying and will bring you to your knees over and over again if it’s being done with a true openness. At least, that’s been my experience.
But as we continue to walk, we begin to see that we have all the love we could ever need, right here inside.
Then we slowly start to operate from that love and we start to see that we don’t NEED love from others to feel worthy of love.
When we desire love from others, is it really love we are wanting? Or is it a yearning to get our needs met in ways we had no control over when we were younger and more innocent and still learning?
This self love trumps all love because it comes from Source, the infinite well. And through it, we heal that part of ourselves that has, for so long, felt unworthy of it.
And the beautiful thing is that once we start to fall deeply into this pure, true love, we see our outer existence transform. We learn that if we give effortlessly with this love, we open up to receiving the same love through all relations in our life.. Our family, friends, lovers, pets, neighbors, strangers. We start to operate from a place of “How can I share this love?” We begin to believe that it can never be taken from us or run dry.
A beautiful, incredibly brave, never ending journey. I feel so inspired and grateful to be witness to so many people who are walking the path to self love with vulnerability and courage.
Coming home <3
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
As I talk to friends and read social media posts, there is no doubt that this year was a challenging one (to say the least) for most of us.
But we grew, right?!
This year has given me the opportunity to do a lot of reflection on who I am. Multiple times I have had the table cloth pulled out from underneath my carefully set table, only to find that the magic trick did not work and that the plates, candle holders and silverware had all fallen to the floor in shattered pieces rather than stayed in their perfect setting.
Like most people have been doing, I’ve been reflecting back on this year…
I stopped playing shows.
I retreated in my home like a hermit for months.
I had a tight circle of friends/family who helped me through some really difficult times.
I got over a severe bout of depression/anxiety using food and a daily regimented routine (Ayurveda).
I spent 2 1/2 months in Colorado with the intention of getting out of my comfort zone. There were times it was highly uncomfortable, my courageous spirit was opened.
I became a certified Reiki practitioner.
I started a Song Healing practice.
I delivered my first public speech in Steamboat, CO called, “You Are The Light.”
I went on my first solo camping trip disconnected from technology.
I wrote some songs.
I sat with pain, loss, heartache, intense anxiety, fear and sadness without running away and distracting myself. I faced it.
I spent the whole year not dating anyone. I realized that having a man in my life is not necessary for me to feel whole.
I found out that my identity is not what I do, but that the things that I do are informed by who/where I truly am.
I practiced honesty with others and myself as often as possible, really uncomfortable honesty.
I celebrated my 4th year sober.
I contemplated mortality deeply (still am) and connected more with the angels that surround me.
I started a dedicated yoga practice to go along with my meditation practice.
I proved to myself that I am resilient, as we all are.
I learned that God is in humanity and that human connection is the #1 healer.
So what if that table cloth magic trick actually IS meant for all the pieces to fall to the floor so we can spend some time picking them up, examining them and placing them where we would like them to go? Or setting the table with new fine china and shimmery gold flatware? Or maybe we want plastic so shit doesn’t keep breaking! ;)
The beauty is that we can set and reset our tables however we like and it will be TOTALLY different from how anyone else sets theirs.
So, yeah! 2016 dealt some shitty hands of 2s & 7s (TX Hold’em anyone?) and I’m sure you had to face things that you’ve never had to face before. But there’s always silver lining. Always. What's yours?
I'd like to encourage you to make a list like I've done here. Share it with me, share it with friends or keep it to yourself as evidence that you are resilient.
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
I was in a session with one of my wonderful Song Healing clients recently and she expressed that she had an issue with the word “healing” because it implies being broken in some way. We talked about this and she had already worked it out, in her own heart, that we’re all broken and that the cracks are what reveal our light. Then we wrote a song about it! At the end of each Song Healing session, I ask my clients to come up with a mantra, for their own personal reflection/growth that embodies what we worked through. Her mantra for this session was "I am whole in my brokenness." Ah! So good!
After our session, my client/friend shared this photo with me.
This is a sculpture called EXPANSION created by an artist named Paige Bradley who said, “Art is not entertainment. Art is not luxury goods. Art is culture. It is you and me.”
When I see this photo, I KNOW that the artist was connected to a source that I, too, have been completely intertwined with in my own creative endeavors. I don’t need to hear her speak about what it means to her. It’s so incredibly apparent. It makes my soul smile that not only one other person understands me, but thousands who feel compelled by this sculpture do too. And I understand them.
Although I’ve heard artists, poets, songwriters and healers alike talk about this concept before, right now I truly feel the strength and holiness of it.
What if we all accepted ourselves and each other for who we are, right in this moment? With all of the scars, the wounds, the cracks, the “missing” pieces?
How would you live your life if none of these things were… Uh, “things?”
In his song, Anthem, Leonard Cohen wrote and sang the lyrics, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Hear it here.
If I had never experienced my cracks of loss, depression, anxiety, hopelessness or deep sadness, how could I be there to sit with and lift up my fellow brothers & sisters? As well as rejoice in the light that shines through as that little crack begins to expand?
When I crack, I allow you to crack. When you crack you allow me to crack. A continuous cycle of revealing more and more of ourselves with one another. Magic!
I want you to see me and I want to see you. Like this sculpture, these cracks are what make us beautiful and unique. We are all connected to the sacredness that lies within each one of us.
You are blessed and you are blessing.
Song Healing is an intuitively guided process that brings your words to life through song. In one session, you will be guided to write your words, watch them transform into to song and hear your song sung to you. Your song will be recorded live and sent to you following our session, so you can listen to it for the rest of your life.
Throughout my years of performing, one of the most common statements I received after a show was "I love music so much! I wish I had the ability, like you and all of the other musicians, to create it."
For those of you who relate to this sentiment... Now you have that chance :)
Because I have accumulated an array of tools in my toolbox, Song Healing is much different from a typical song-writing session. I am a certified energy healer, dedicated meditator and yogi, have nearly the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in coaching/guiding experience and quite possibly the equivalent of a master's background in musicianship/ songwriting/ performing. (w/o the student debt ;) )
Song Healing allows me to bring all of these passions together to provide a beautifully unique experience for you. Every session I have continues to amaze me.
Through the Song Healing process I do my best to be a vessel for your truth to shine through. I reflect back to you, who you inherently are... A beautiful being with so much light.
"I am very inspired by my Song Healing Session with Ashley Monical! She has a way of creating a safe, sacred space to voice one’s deepest yearnings which she then uses to create a special, unique song capturing the essence of those yearnings. I was amazed and pleased with the song she produced for me and I will treasure it always. I highly recommend trying a Song Healing Session with Ashley to bring movement and shift into your life in a beautiful, graceful way."
"Our words, writing once in sacred holding, were birthed in song. In sweet relief, they were revealed in new light to be grieved and surrendered and celebrated. Our hearts were validated. Forgiveness reigned sovereign. Our confetti lyrics became something new- -no longer pain, but purpose and understanding."
We can do one-on-one sessions through Skype or face-to-face. For one-on-ones, there are packages available if you would like more than 1 session. (See below for pricing or visit my website).
Or you can join a group immersion workshop (friends, family, co-workers or strangers), which provides a really incredible experience.
I do large groups too. In January I am traveling to Dayton, Ohio to do a workshop for 100+ people at a small business conference. I will share my story, guide everyone through the Song Healing process and have a few volunteers to come on stage for me to sing their song.
Currently, I have 4 slots available per week for one-on-one Song Healing sessions. I will take inquiries on a first come, first serve basis :) Contact me to book your session(s)!
Excited to create with you!
You are blessed and you are blessing,
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.
One On One
(1 hr session)
In person: $275
(2 hr session)
*dependent on size of family unit
Group Immersion of 3-6
(3 hr session)
*This intensive gives the opportunity to share and heal with one another. Everyone's song will be shared with everyone in the group and each person will have the opportunity to share after each song is sung. This unique experience reveals the reality that we are not alone in what we are going through. Together we step into more love, light and healing.
Workshop of 6 or more
(3 hr workshop)
*Same structure as the Group Immersion. Price is dependent on amount of attendees, location and other circumstances.
Contact me for inquiries!
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."
- Winston Churchill
When I was 19, just when I was about to fall asleep one night, this strange feeling came over me. It was terrifying. I had no idea what it was. I thought maybe it was the flu, but along with physical symptoms - my mind was going nuts. A concoction of feelings I had never before felt.
I went to the doctor and I was told that I had experienced a panic attack.
So there began my intimate dance with anxiety.
There have been long periods of time where I haven't feel any anxiety at all. Then there have been times where it is so consistently prevalent that I feel like I might burst into a million pieces. If you experience anxiety, you know what I am talking about.
In this dance, I have found many tools to use when I feel anxiety tapping on my shoulder (EFT, meditation, yoga, eating healthy, energy work, etc..). If you have any questions about these, I’m here!
I have been told by just a few people that I have no reason to be anxious because of my life's circumstances. I have been laughed at (only a couple of times) for experiencing anxiety (and depression) and it hurt. But mostly I have been embraced, comforted and validated. This is major… With any mental-health issue. Validation is so crucial.
From my experience I have found that there is circumstantial anxiety and then there is anxiety that just chooses to show up while someone is grocery shopping, driving, sitting at home or doing other mundane activities. No matter the cause, the feeling is real in the moment one is experiencing it.
So please(!), if you are experiencing anxiety reach out to someone you trust (or a therapist) and allow them to be there for you. And if you know anyone who experiences anxiety (or depression), let them know you’re there to listen (and/or find them the help they need). This is not to dive down a worm hole, but to face and acknowledge it with courage.
Anxiety has taught me how to care for myself in a way I never knew before. Anxiety has helped me see that I needed to change direction or negative habits in my life. It has brought me to such a low place that now the light is that much stronger. It has given me the honor of being there when any of my brothers or sisters of the world are in it - because I understand it.
It’s a strange phenomenon. Something that can leave me feeling so separate has been a true catalyst for connection with others.
How beautiful is that?!
The major life changing thing for me was finding that I just needed to TALK ABOUT IT. Seriously. It’s that simple. I started talking about it.
Has it completely gone away? No.
Will it visit from time to time throughout the rest of my life? Probably.
Talking about it has allowed me to accept it and feel more freedom from it. Of course, in the beginning it was important for me to have discretion on how I shared and with whom I shared. But now, I’m out of the closet ;) I actually enjoy talking about it. It’s like the elephant in the room that everyone relates to, but doesn’t want to face.
Embrace the anxiety elephant!
The more we see and welcome it as a teacher, the less space it will take up in these beautiful lives we all have!
Go on with your courageous lion heart.
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
With love and anxiety ;)
As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.
- Marianne Williamson
I am sharing something that feels quite personal, but just like the other things I talk about, I have a feeling it will be healing for me and perhaps for others. I'm not attached, I just get an inspiration and if I don't share - It bubbles up inside and screams until I let it out ;)
I am a single, 31 year old woman. There's this thing that people call the biological clock... It started to kick in at about 29 for me. And I'm finally feeling enough peace around it to share.
If you are single (or not) and feeling this even slightly, here's what I want to tell you. I hope you really read these words over and over until they reach the cells of your entire being...
You are good enough.
You are worthy of love.
You have so much beauty about you.
There is nothing wrong with you.
You are capable of being loved.
You are capable of loving.
You are never truly alone.
You do not need to settle.
You are courageous.
You are strong.
You have so much to offer.
You are in the exact place you need to be.
You are likely preparing for a partner, who is likely also preparing for you...
I have felt so much societal pressure to be in a relationship... Even to be married, have kids and lead a more domesticated life. What I realize and take responsibility for is that, the only way this pressure can affect me is if I allow it to. And the only way I allow it to is when I start to believe other people's truths over my own.
What I do know is that my intuition will never, ever steer me wrong. My intuition comes from the depth of my heart and that is where truth resides. I am learning that I don't need to be in a relationship to feel good enough or loved. I don't need the approval of anyone (either from someone I'm dating or my family or society). I can stand as a powerful, courageous, nurturing woman in my light. I can know that when a man choosing to stand in his own light comes along, I will not be inclined to dim my light and I will be inspired to break down whatever walls I have built. It certainly won't be easy, but I will know when it's worth it.
I don't want anyone to complete me. I have worked too hard on coming into my own wholeness and I'm not willing to sacrifice that honoring of and dedication to myself. I would much rather be single than share a life with someone where we find ourselves not honoring, loving or respecting each other in the way that we need.
I have never written about this publicly, and I'm not gonna lie, it feels quite vulnerable, but I believe it's important. There is absolutely no shame in being single. If it is your path right now, whatever age you may be, it's a beautiful way to get to know yourself and fall in love with the intricacies of your own being. I'm so proud of myself for not jumping impulsively from relationship to relationship anymore. I am proud of myself for honoring this sacred space for growth, self-love, exploration, courage and depth. Being in a relationship with someone where our souls meet on this level will only enhance this depth and push me to grow in ways I might not be able to on my own.
I am a work in progress, coming into more and more light, and always will be - Just like all my fellow brothers and sisters!
Let's just love ourselves and see where the path leads with a curious and courageous lion heart...
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
So much love.
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.
There is no one else on this planet who can do you better than you.
We each have a purpose here on this planet and the only way of fulfilling that purpose is to be ourselves. That’s right.
It’s interesting how we are brought up. Lots of us grow up believing we need to fit into a mold to be accepted by society. This is a load of bullshit, really. It’s based on fear - which is the opposing force to love.
The reason we are each born to fulfill our different purposes is because it’s what makes the world go round. It’s like we are all little pieces of the very large puzzle called life. And with one missing piece, the puzzle is not complete.
This is why when we are being true to self, life seems to have a flow, an energy, an abundance to it. The more we can cultivate authenticity in our lives, the more we step into health and happiness. Even if a challenging circumstance comes up, we are able to handle it with more ease and grace.
Through my humble 31 years of human experience (in this lifetime), I’ve learned that this is not always easy, but reaps great benefit.
When I look back on my life before I got sober (in 2012), starting around my teenage years, I was always trying to fit in. I wanted to be a cool kid! Countless times, I found myself sacrificing my own integrity to be part of a popular group.
If you are hanging around people who you feel like you can’t be yourself around… You are most likely hanging out with the wrong crowd. Switch it up. Have faith you’ll find your tribe. You will.
As I get further into my sobriety (note: I know sobriety is not necessary for everyone, it’s just my journey), I notice that I continue to unravel the true layers of myself everyday. With this unraveling, people continue to come into my life who reflect my own values with love and kindness as the foundation. The people who don’t reflect what I vibe with tend to somehow become less and less a part of my life. It’s crazy and true!
Like all the greats say, our world is a reflection of what’s inside of us. So, when we're real, they're real.
Sometimes it’s super painful when a layer peels off. Sometimes I’ll cry for hours and need to schedule an emergency therapy appointment. And at other times, it’s easier than that. But ALL of the time, it’s so incredibly beautiful to see how my light is revealed underneath the bullshit I thought I needed to cover it up with.
You be you.
And just for fun, maybe say out loud, “fuck it!” with a smile on your face and light in your eyes ;)
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
I was talking with my mom the other day about being of service. Every morning in prayer I ask God, my higher self and all that surrounds me how I can be of greatest service to this day, to myself and to the people who I interact with. This concept really sank into my heart after being introduced to A Course In Miracles and becoming a fan of Marianne Williamson.
In our conversation I said something about being of service and it catapulted us into talking about what some people's perception of "being of service" is. We contemplated how some people (including ourselves at times) might have the belief that being of service means that they sacrifice themselves in an unhealthy way to help others, AKA being a martyr.
In my experience, being of service in this way is detrimental to our health, well being and relationships. I know because I've been there at times.
To me, being of service means to step fully into our own light, allowing it to flow through us and sharing the infinite abundance that it is. If we sacrifice too much, then we will not be able to sustain this attitude of service.
Sometimes being of service calls us to extremely challenging relationships and circumstances, at other times it's easier.. It's life! Either way, we can do our best to reveal our vibrant, healthy selves in order to lead by example and share our light with those who need it.
BEING OF SERVICE MEANS STANDING IN OUR LIGHT.
In praying to be of service, we offer ourselves to a life and force that will guide us to where we need to go, what we need to do and who we need to interact with for the highest, most healing outcome.
We can be of service in every moment of our day if we open ourselves up to it. We are always where we need to be. ALWAYS.
Are flying to Africa to volunteer in an orphanage
Have a house in suburb America with a 9-5
Are a stay at home mom
Are a homeless person living on the streets
Are a cook at a fast food restaurant
Are an entrepreneur running their own company
Are a teacher
Are a doctor
Are a lawyer
Are having a one on one conversation with a stranger or loved one
Are a person searching for their next step in life...
You can be of service. It's simple. Just follow the guidance. When we tune into it, we know.. It's a feeling that we are contributing to a greater whole (we always are whether we feel it or not) and able to be present in what we are doing.
Where can you be of service today, in this moment, in whatever you are doing?
If you focus on this, I promise you will start to feel lighter, healthier and happier about your life.
Keep up the service, friends, and keep standing in your light!
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
We go through things. We get hurt. We feel victimized. We lose sight of what the point is. We can't seem to catch a break.
Any of this sound familiar?
Of course! Because we are human and we have all had these experiences in one way or another. We could all probably write a whole book on the "things" we've been through.
Because we are souls living in a material world and with that comes the lessons we have to learn. The lessons never end. And what I have found is that whenever I'm absolutely confident I have "gotten" something, it typically shifts or transforms into a different thing. Sometimes that is a beautiful experience and sometimes it's heartbreaking and earth shattering. From a higher perspective, it's really all the same though.
Is there a situation you find yourself a victim of? Maybe a break-up? Or a lost job? Struggling financially? Has someone "done" something to you?
The reality seems to be that these things are "happening to you." The higher reality is that these things are happening with no intention of hurting you or making you feel like a victim, but to give you an opportunity to learn the lesson.. Whatever the lesson might be.
WE CHOOSE THE REALITY IN WHICH WE WANT TO LIVE.
We begin to see the lesson when we choose to see the situation from a higher perspective.
Seriously, it's that simple. I know both sides because I have had times where I was dramatic and made a WAY bigger deal of things than necessary. As I have gotten further into a meditation practice, I have noticed a pretty incredible shift with the way I perceive reality. It has subtly happened over time. Now, when I find myself feeling like a victim, the shift happens much sooner than in the past.
Not saying I'm perfect at it, we all have times we need to vent and work through the emotions and hopefully we have a trusted friend or family member to keep us grounded through the kinks we need to work through. Ideally, this person would help us see from a higher perspective and not feed into whatever drama we've created in our own mind.
It takes sitting back and truly taking a look with different glasses on, seeing each individual involved as a child of God, learning their own lessons too.
We are all equal. We all have the ability to do this. We all have the ability to see the light within one another and within our own selves.
I challenge you to think about that place of victimhood, sit with it and truly examine whether it's lending to your growth or keeping you stuck in the mud.
How would you like to see it?
You are blessed and you are a blessing.
"Love is the flower you've got to let grow." -John Lennon
We’ve all done it, right? We have all been in a place where we have to step into the unknown. It’s terrifying, liberating and beautiful all at the same time.
When we go there, there is this childlike surrender that happens. A sense of wonder and awe begins to take place as we do our best to take each step with courage, authenticity and grace.
So, why is it that sometimes when feel this urge to change, we find ourselves reverting back into what we know? Back into our comfort zone? Back into the safety of our relationships, jobs, homes, our unhealthy habits?
Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear we won’t be “okay.” Fear we won’t be good enough. Fear we will lose friends or family. Fear we will lose a part of ourselves. Fear that we won’t be taken care of. Fear we won’t make enough money. Fear we will fail. Fear we will shine too brightly.
What happens, though, when we take that first baby step of courage into it, we start to see a light. Our wings begin to get a little stronger, day by day. We begin to have faith that we are being lead by an invisible force that pulls us towards the path of self realization and liberation.
Stepping into our own self.
Our soul wants to go there. That’s actually where the call is coming from. It’s deeply rooted inside each of us. We have allowed our rational mind to be the louder voice. Not anymore.
What if we started listening to the soul? What if, for one day, we said “fuck it” and allowed our bodies to move in the direction of our soul’s calling?
Yes, there will be details to figure out.
These details, though, will find a way of working themselves out. You’ll be amazed.
When we listen to this call, we are coming into agreement with the Great Spirit, The Universe, God, all of the energy that creates everything.
This agreement states, “I will listen to you, and you will take care of me. I recognize that there will be lessons for growth. I accept that this is not an easy path, and that it is a great one. I vow to honor your voice, I vow to take action on your call. I vow to serve in whichever way you will have me serve for the highest good. I surrender to your path. Keep my feet rooted in the ground, my heart in love and my mind at ease.”
When I got sober about 3.5 years ago, I didn’t realize I was making an agreement like this, but I was. We all are when we step into the unknown. We are stepping up. We are giving over our control and allowing spirit to move through us.
The beautiful reality is that THIS LOOKS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE.
Having experienced ups and downs of anxiety and depression, I know it can feel like a gigantic struggle just to get out of bed some mornings. I have had the opportunity to become deeply familiar with the pain of not really wanting to be here anymore. Reflecting back onto these moments, though, with the help of friends and family, I found the courage to step into the unknown, even it was just getting out of bed in the morning or going to lunch with an old friend.
I recently packed up my closest belongings in my Kia Sportage and hit the road from Texas to Colorado for an undetermined amount of time, not really having any clue what was there for me. The mystery is more and more revealed each day through the people I meet, the experiences I have and the faith that is gained.
So, my friend! What will you do today to step into the unknown? What does it look like for you?
The courage is within you, the light surrounds you, the Universe holds you. You are a blessed and you are a blessing.
Stand in the place where your light shines the brightest. This is not something anyone else can decide for you. Your heart knows this place.
You feel it, deep down, in whatever you’re doing. You know whether it’s in line with love or fear.
It’s first realizing that you have a light and then standing in it. It’s that simple.
At times, this might mean feeling uncomfortable…
Sharing your truth with a friend, partner or family member. Sharing yourself with a group of people. Quitting a habit, pattern or relationship that you have decided doesn’t serve anyone any longer. Stepping into a new chapter… Scary, yeah, I know!
Sometimes, though, it feels downright incredible to stand in this light…
Making a compassionate connection with someone asking you for money. Sharing loving-kindness with strangers you encounter. Cooking your own food. Reading an enlightening book. Building a garden (something I would really love to do). Exercising. Yoga-ing ;) Meditating. Watching a feel good movie. Lighting the candles. Creating something that HAS to come out of you and sharing it with people.
The world needs this from us. I believe it is our responsibility to stand in this light. If you’re practicing this already, you know what I’m talking about!
If fear has been holding you back - Can you do one small thing today to get you closer, knowing that the Universe / God / Love will be with you every step of the way especially in the moments of fear, anxiety and worry?
Take a moment to get still and ask…
Where do I shine the brightest? ✨
I didn't know what I was getting into about 3.5 yrs ago when I decided to quit drinking and be sober. I was just at a point where I knew it was what I needed to do. I had no idea it was the beginning of a journey in falling in love with myself. I could barely look at my own self in the mirror, much less feel any sort of authenticity when saying "I love myself." I had many nights of black out whiskey & wine drinking. I made poor decisions for my own well being that also impacted those around me. I wondered why the people I chose to be in friendships and relationships with continued to not treat me with respect or love. I spent a lot of time and energy frustrated about this and mad at people. I couldn’t figure out why drama always seemed to find me.
Getting sober planted a small (mustard) seed of loving myself. At that time, I just didn’t want to be hung over anymore wink emoticon Getting sober has given me the space to start loving myself. Not everyone has to get sober for this to happen, but it’s what needed to happen for my path. Looking back on these past few years, I can’t believe the changes that have come. It has not been easy. In fact, at times, it’s been downright brutal, terrifying, chaotic and agonizing - And I can say today that “I LOVE MYSELF.” It still feels a little awkward and vulnerable to say at times, but I can truly say it with my heart now.
This is the most important thing because - as they say - you have to love yourself in order to accept the love of others.
This is really true.
Like REALLY true.
As I have let love for myself slip into my life -
Drama has been etched out.
Negativity has been removed.
Disrespect is a rarity.
And I do my absolute best to make decisions of the highest vibration of love.
The relationships that weren’t serving in any way have fallen to the wayside. When we start to love ourselves, we start to surround ourselves with people who lift us rather than smother us.
I have so much more to say about this that I could probably write a book. I am still learning in each moment, how to fall deeper into this love. Because when I love me, I am much more able to love you.
How will you love yourself today?
Hi all. I recently posted on social media that I have stopped using shampoo & conditioner. Thank you to everyone for your questions and comments. This blog is to inform those of you who are interested in doing this for yourselves. I will explain my process and address as many questions as I am able!
When I decided to try this out I did what we all do and googled "not washing your hair." After some research, I found a few blogs/articles from other women who do this (links at bottom of blog).
With this post, I'd like to cover all the questions people have asked me (there were some questions I did not find answers to in other blogs/articles).
WHAT'S THE PURPOSE?
First, my hair is thin and by that, I mean each individual strand is thin. I also have quite a lot of hair. I am always doing what I can to get more volume & fullness - teasing, Redken Rough Paste, baby powder and curling it.
Around the 2.5 - 3 week mark of not washing with shampoo, my hair started feeling the way I always wanted it to. Voluminous & full, soft, not oily, thick, tamable, un-staticy, wavier, is much more manageable and looks pretty dang good (at least that's what my friends have told me!).
I stopped using shampoo, conditioner & product about 3-4 weeks ago. From day 4 to about day 10, I really wanted to wash my hair. I used to be able to go about 3 (maybe 4) days without washing and using baby power on my roots everyday, but typically at that 3 or 4 day mark I couldn't go any longer without washing. I pushed through, people, and you can too! A photo of me from when I was still using shampoo compared to a photo of me about 3 weeks after not washing. (I do use a curling iron)
DOES YOUR HAIR/SCALP SMELL?
No, not at all. I have politely asked trusted friends to stick their noses in it. I can't 100% tell you that yours won't. Because we all have different diets and put different things into our bodies that come out of our pores (this could be another blog), I can't guarantee you that yours won't, but it's highly unlikely that your hair/scalp will smell. Trust me!
The important thing to remember with this is that you will be taking your scalp through a process of balancing it's pH level. If you have been using shampoo and hair products, your scalp is most likely creating excess oil because those products are drying it out. In the beginning your scalp may feel oilier than normal, but if you push through, the balance will come and your scalp won't produce near as much oil and will bring itself to a healthy pH balance and create amazing results for your beautiful locks.
Using baking soda and ACV (apple cider vinegar) will help.
Below I will lay out for you my process as best I remember it:
Day 4 - Wash with equal parts baking soda & water mixture, scrubbing roots with fingertips for about 2-3 minutes. Rinse out thoroughly. Then, with equal part mixture of ACV & water (I made the mixture in a little bowl and dipped the ends of my hair in it, up to 2-3 inches away from scalp). Rinse thoroughly. Let hair air dry or you can blow dry and proceed with styling if that's your jam.
Day 6 - Rinse hair with water, scrubbing scalp.
Day 8 - If you feel it necessary, repeat day 4. If you're okay with just rinsing with water, that is more ideal.
Day 11 - Repeat day 4.
After day 12, you should find a rhythm for yourself. Knowing when it's best to rinse with water, do the baking soda & ACV or just skip the rinse all together. The most important thing to remember when doing things like this is to listen to your body and inner voice. Your answer is always inside of you. Like the times you ask someone, "Should I wear this shirt or that shirt?" And they respond with "That shirt." And you say, "I think I'll wear this one instead." You knew what you wanted/needed all along. This is a metaphor for all the other things in life. Trust your inner guidance!
A FEW KEY POINTS:
- There were quite a few days my hair felt oily in the beginning stages. You can use a bit of baby powder on your roots if you feel really uncomfortable with it. Don't use too much though, because it will dry out your scalp, making it want to produce more oil.
- Hats, ponytails & buns are good for the beginning too.
- Brush brush brush! I use a Mason Pearson brush. It's amazing. Brush from roots to ends in the morning and evening. This will bring the oils down from your scalp to your ends, nourishing your hair and making it softer and more flowy (made that word up).
- Put it back somehow while you sleep especially in the beginning stages because of the excess oil. This is not necessary, but just a suggestion.
- I've heard this works wonders for curly hair. It has made my hair more wavy.
- You will save money on products, use less water and not be bound by your hair washing routine. After 2-3 weeks, you will be free to wake up most days and not have to wash your hair. It's really freeing! This especially makes me think of all the musicians I know who tour a lot.
Please keep me updated on how this works out for you! You can do it! If you need guidance, feel free to reach out or comment below!
This is a much talked about topic - Finding your purpose. It can seem a little (or a lot) daunting to think about.
For a long time, I thought "purpose" meant something someone does. For instance: "my purpose is to play music" or "my purpose is to write" or "my purpose is to be a mom" or "my purpose is to provide for my family."
Through experience, many tough lessons and periods of time where I have felt like I'm grinding out life on a gravely, bumpy road - My opinion has changed about this. Purpose comes from somewhere that is not visible to the human eye. It is mystical in a sense. If you sat a doctor and musician next to each other - they might have the same purpose. If you sat two doctors side by side - they might have completely different purposes.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to find your purpose (write them down!):
Now, some or all of these questions might have the same answer. But you should at least have some facts about your purpose to work with. Purpose is the undercurrent for all that we do. Purpose drives our passion.
Here's an example from my life - Lately, I get the most joy out of writing. Whether it be a song, a poem, an inspiring Facebook post, beginning a book, even this blog! I get this true sense of joy and almost a feeling of being invincible when I am in the act of writing. It is not really the ACT OF WRITING that brings me these feelings though. It is what I am writing about and the message that I wish to share. It is the knowing that I am one of the vessels through which this information travels to manifest into the physical world - however that may be. Everyone has the ability to experience this. EVERYONE.
Now that you have answered the questions, think about your daily life. Think (or write) about what you do in your day to engage with your purpose. If you can't think of anything right now, write about what you COULD BE DOING to engage. It can be very simple. Think about ways to find time each day to ignite it. THIS IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE SOUL.
My wish is that this message fires you up and allows you to live a purpose driven life, even if just for today, but hopefully for the rest of your days. You deserve it and the world needs you.
"Facing The Shadow" is out as of Oct 16!
Download on iTunes here:
My deepest gratitude to all who have been a part of this project, all who have lent a helping hand, all who have contributed time and energy and all of those who continue to support the music by coming to shows!
Here's a photo that my super talented friend, Elis Avellan, took a while back. This was a really awesome photo shoot in her father's backyard. Here's an inside scoop on photo shoots. First, I want to say that Elis is amazing - She's amazing because when we do a photo shoot, she brings out in me my truest self, and she's a gorgeous Goddess herself. I was super cold in this water. I had this huge tapestry wrapped around my body, doing my best to keep myself covered for the photo. My sweet sister is out of the shot, but just to the left of the photo making sure the fabric was flowing properly for a good shot. Elis' sister, Isabel, was holding the sun reflector and Elis was tippy toed on the edge of the pool in order to get this angle from above. All the while, I'm trying not to laugh and doing my best to look natural and relaxed, like it's just another day, floating in the water, sun shining, without a care in the world... Easy breezy, right?!? Because I fully immersed myself in the water, this was the last shot of the day and we all laughed a lot for this portion of the shoot. But she captured a great one, right??
You can find more of Elis' work here. Her photography name is Alice Rabbit. Follow her on IG, Twitter - @alicerabbitshoots. She also makes gorgeous jewelry called Crystal Bullets.
On another note - The album is finished! We sent it off to get pressed today with my Any & All Media here in Austin, TX. Super excited! So much work has been put into this and to be able to share it with y'all gives me butterflies in my tummy. In a really good way :)
Shows! Because a lot of time and energy is going in to preparing for the album release, the show schedule is not as busy this coming month, but we've got some good ones! We will be all over the states for shows in the fall, so stay tuned for that.
Thursday, August 13th
McGonigel's Mucky Duck
Tix online HERE
Thursday, August 20th
Friday & Saturday, August 21st & 22nd
Terlingua Music Festival
Order wristband online for only $40 ($75 at the door) HERE
Call me Christian because I worship Jesus Christ. Call me Buddhist because I worship Buddha. Call me Hindu because I worship Hare Krishna. Call me a student of Self Realization because I worship Paramahansa Yogananda. Call me a Tree Hugger because I worship Mother Earth. Call me a scientist because I have explored quantum physics. Call me whatever you'd like, really :)
This is not "new age" belief. "New" implies time, this Love is timeless. It is always now and always here for us to bask in it's Grace and Glory.
Some folks might get confused walking into my home, seeing photos of Christ, statues of Buddha, images of Krishna and photos of Gurus hanging on my walls, Mother Mary, Catholic candles, incense, malas, sage, etc. All of these beings who blessed the Earth have high vibrations of LOVE pouring out of them. They did not wish for segregation, they did not wish for judgement. They wished for Oneness under the umbrella of God, which is All.
God = Love. Love has no boundaries. Love simply is.
We worship whatever Deity resonates with us. Know that God lives inside of us and around us and provides an infinite amount of Love, passion and joy!
Friends! This Saturday I will be at The Saxon Pub in Austin, TX. I have been working away on my solo show and would love for you all to join me! I appreciate all of the love and support I have felt recently.. I love sharing and connecting with you! My friends at Colored Lion are bringing a film crew out for the show to get some footage for an upcoming project we are working on, so wear your best lipstick and fanciest shirt :) Stick around for Micky and the Motorcars afterwards! A good friend and great singer-songwriter, Jessy Napier, will be opening for me.
--- Saxon Pub --- Jan 24 --- 8PM --- $8 at the door ---
As always, you can visit ashleymonical.com to check show schedule, read the blog or browse the photos.
Blessings and see you soon!